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forscience-blog

This month we come together to celebrate science! Not just the abstract concept, but the ideas, people, and discoveries that have helped to change the world. The past century has afforded us some incredible realizations and rapid growth in the scientific community. Improved technology has enabled scientists to progress their field in ways that had previously only been imagined. Naturally, the geeks within us delight in these advances while we also point at parallels between reality and the fictional worlds we so love. You can’t talk about science without looking to some of our favourite fictional scientist and scientific inventions.

1) If you could have dinner and an engaging conversation with any scientist, who would you choose?
2) Name one scientific discovery that you think has changed, or will change, the world for the better.
3) Tell us your pick for best fictional scientist?
4) What fictional scientific discovery do you wish was real?

doc-brown
1) If you could have dinner and an engaging conversation with any scientist, who would you choose?
Dr. John Lennox. He’s a charming Irish mathematician who isn’t afraid to tackle the tough topic of God and science, co-existing. He works at Oxford, and is generally awesome, intelligent, and of course has the cutest accent.

2) Name one scientific discovery that you think has changed, or will change, the world for the better.
3D Printers, for sure. Check out 12 things we can 3D print in medicine right now. Even turtles and dogs are shouting hooray for 3D printers.

3) Tell us your pick for best fictional scientist?
Doc Brown. He’s exciting, intelligent, and a bit mad. He’s always working on some crazy new invention! He’s the kind of wacky guy who would always be bringing his new inventions to test out to our lunch dates, which we would so have. Plus perhaps we’d time travel a bit.

4) What fictional scientific discovery do you wish was real?
Hoverboards! This would be the most fun thing to ride to work ever!

dana-sculley
1) If you could have dinner and an engaging conversation with any scientist, who would you choose?
I’d be head-over-heels for a dinner with Daniel J. Levitin, who is widely known for writing This is Your Brain on Music. He has several degrees in psychology and is an accomplished musician and producer. His previous music industry work brought him into collaborations with the likes of Blue Öyster Cult, Santana, Sting, and other no-name acts you’ve never heard of, right?! I discovered him after picking up a copy of the aforementioned book, which grabbed me by the collar and riveted me from the moment I flipped to page one. In a past incarnation, I considered becoming a music producer, due to my penchant for analyzing the sonic components of songs. Dr. Levitin’s discussion of neurocognitive science and music felt like he was poking around in my head and hitting all the switches that made me tick. I think we would talk for hours about all things music-science, and enjoy a post-dinner listen/analysis of records on a state-of-the-art sound system.

2) Name one scientific discovery that you think has changed, or will change, the world for the better.
My selection brought to you by the letters, A T G C! We’ve come a long way since Rosalind Franklin first cracked the basis of genetic material in 1953, but we’re only living in the beginning stages of the era of the understanding of genetics. The possibilities are endless for the technology we have yet to explore and create. The mapping of the human genome was completed a mere 12 years ago in 2003, and in that time we have already learned so much about ourselves – what makes us tick as multicellular organisms and what drives human health and disease. Imagine where the scientific community will be with DNA and RNA technology in 100 years! Though cloning and personal DNA testing come with a host of ethical considerations that will have to be carefully addressed, I choose to believe that genetic technology driven by good intentions will prevail.

3) Tell us your pick for best fictional scientist?
Thinking of a fictional scientist – who isn’t Princess Bubblegum – was kind of hard for me! I finally settled on Dana Scully from The X-Files. My middle school years included an X-Files phase, thanks to a mega X-Phile classmate who helped me get sucked into that television universe. We made webpages (Hanson/X-Files crossover fanfic, anyone?), placed masking tape X’s on our window panes, and used AIM screennames to proclaim our love (two of mine were scullfox13 and starbuck61). Scully profoundly influenced me in many ways, including when my eighth grade social studies class held a mock trial to learn about the judicial system. Of course, I insisted on being the forensic pathologist, because I wanted to be JUST LIKE SCULLY. None of my friends understood why I’d want to give boring testimony about a murder scene, but for my whole 2 minutes on the stand, I fancied myself a forensics expert in the style of my favorite pursed-lip redhead FBI agent. I have a special place in my heart for well-written and intelligent women characters, and the brilliant Dana Scully was one of the first I admired.

4) What fictional scientific discovery do you wish was real?
Um, duh, Portal guns. Just imagine all of the shenanigans you could pull if those babies were real. I’d shoot a blue portal in Nashville and an orange portal in San Diego, save myself hours of travel, and have my boyfriend and acai bowls in my life daily! Portkeys, eat your heart out.

dexter-morgan
1) If you could have dinner and an engaging conversation with any scientist, who would you choose?
Neil deGrasse Tyson for sure. I would love to pick his brain and I could listen to him talk about space all day long.

2) Name one scientific discovery that you think has changed, or will change, the world for the better.
I think the discovery of the helical structure of DNA has definitely changed the world for the better. It was really a turning point for the study of biology, the basis for all modern biology, and molecular biology. This discovery will only continue to take us forward.

3) Tell us your pick for best fictional scientist?
I think I miiiight have to go with Dexter Morgan from the show/books Dexter. He’s a forensic scientist specializing in blood pattern analysis, and if you don’t know much about me, my degree is in forensic science and I love blood pattern analysis, so I totally relate on that aspect. Plus, I just love him and the show and books.

4) What fictional scientific discovery do you wish was real?
Teleporter or portal guns or portals in general. Something that would allow me to get from point A to point B instantly so I could visit my pen pal in Australia and eat tacos and drink tea with her then be home in time for bed. That needs to happen.

mordin-solus
1) If you could have dinner and an engaging conversation with any scientist, who would you choose?
I’m going to be really honest with you, I’ve never been a science geek. I enjoy the potential, the order, the detail… but it’s not something into which I’ve soaked my brain. So I don’t have any particular scientist spring to mind! I will say that I would probably be most interested & most enjoy listening to an expert in either neurology or forensics.

2) Name one scientific discovery that you think has changed, or will change, the world for the better.
I love advances in medical treatments, helps for disabilities, & discoveries that make important things more efficient (like farming techniques). I believe these things are so important for helping the world be a better place. But I also believe that innovations in other areas, even if they seem on the surface to not be used to help people directly, are so beautiful & inspiring! Any discovery that someone has worked toward can be a light to others, showing potential & giving spark to minds that can then go on to discover even more. It’s a beautiful cycle, & I find it encouraging that we can all be passionate about different things & skilled in different areas & use those differences to make the most excellent world.

3) Tell us your pick for best fictional scientist?
Mordin Solus (from Mass Effect 2 & 3)! He’s the BEST. Runner ups might be Tony Stark & Sherlock Holmes.

4) What fictional scientific discovery do you wish was real?
Most of my favorite fictional science stuff takes place in Star Trek. Tricorders & hypospray alone would make such a difference in our lives, not to mention how often I wish we could have replicators & transporters!

dana-sculley2
1) If you could have dinner and an engaging conversation with any scientist, who would you choose?
Neil deGrasse Tyson – Let’s talk about the stars and the planets and where science can take us!

2) Name one scientific discovery that you think has changed, or will change, the world for the better.
Renewable clean energy. I’m ready for a change for the better. There is so much we can do with energy that we have not even begun to explore.

3) Tell us your pick for best fictional scientist?
DANA SCULLY. I wanted to be her when I was younger. She made science look so cool. She is all “I can be a scientist and a lady and religious and a bad ass FBI agent AND give a mean skeptic eye roll.” I’d be like “OMG Scully, Let me tag along on cool adventures with you and Mulder.” Then I’d bat my eyelashes and die. #flawless

4) What fictional scientific discovery do you wish was real?
Teleportation. There are so many fabulous iggles our there that I want to visit! Beam me up!

john-hammond
1) If you could have dinner and an engaging conversation with any scientist, who would you choose?
Any scientist? Mary Anning, if I’m allowed to pick someone who died in 1847. She was a very early fossil hunter who taught herself about anatomy, scientific drawing, and any number of things “on the job” as it were. Her area focused on a specific region, Lyme Regis, and included the discovery of the first of several types of extinct animals, plus observations that led to the discovery that corprolites are fossilized feces! Fascinating, right?

2) Name one scientific discovery that you think has changed, or will change, the world for the better.
Vaccines. Vaccines. Vaccines. All day long, vaccines. I know they aren’t usually considered cutting edge, but to me this is the epitome of science helping people. The idea of eradicating diseases was science fiction 100 years ago, and I’m excited to see where the related technology will take us in the future. Can I also add water filters along with this? Clean drinking water stops so so many diseases for people, and I’d love to see more funding going to sending affordable and accessible water treatment and vaccines to the whole world.

3) Tell us your pick for best fictional scientist?
Ohh this is a tricky one. Best, like the best one? Or best, like my favorite? I’m not sure I could really pick. John Hammond, the founder of InGen and creator of Jurassic Park, is a pretty interesting guy, though. Not a “good” guy, and in the novels he was fairly unpredictable and unlikable, but I still find him really fascinating. To me he represents the way that science can go from the idealistic “pure” form many people think of when they imagine scientific discoveries, to how it is actually used in the real world. After all, those vaccines I mentioned above not only save millions of lives but have the potential to make millions in profits. And it makes us ask the uncomfortable questions about means vs. ends to think about profit driving discoveries that save lives. Whew, that got deep.

4) What fictional scientific discovery do you wish was real?
I’m with Sumsy on the teleportation train, because I’d like to be able to instantly go anywhere and visit anyone I wanted. Maybe on a grander scale, a Stargate, though I’m not sure I’d want to deal with the Goa’uld. They don’t have to be a package deal, right…?

hank-mccoy
1) If you could have dinner and an engaging conversation with any scientist, who would you choose?
He’s fictional, but I’ll pick Dr. Egon Spengler. To sit and talk to him about the crazy and exciting world of paranormal studies would be thrilling.

2) Name one scientific discovery that you think has changed, or will change, the world for the better.
Definitely renewable energy. I hope things keep changing and heading in the direction of clean, green, renewable energy. I believe it’d help our world immensely.

3) Tell us your pick for best fictional scientist?
Hank McCoy is my favourite fictional scientist. He’s incredibly smart and helps heal mutants and humans alike. Plus his witty banter is enjoyable.

4) What fictional scientific discovery do you wish was real?
Of course teleportation. Who wouldn’t want to jump around the world in the blink of an eye?!

urahara-kisuke
1) If you could have dinner and an engaging conversation with any scientist, who would you choose?
I think it would be interesting to have a conversation with Jane Marcet. Her contribution to science was in the form of the books, the foremost of which was “Conversations On Chemistry”. Her works became widely published in her time and presented the current ideas of science to a population that did not have the benefit of a formal education. Her books (published in several other languages) also encouraged girls to familiarize themselves with natural and physical sciences and to keep up with their male counterparts.

2) Name one scientific discovery that you think has changed, or will change, the world for the better.
I think that the work being done by some of the worlds youngest scientists is going to mean amazing things for the future of the world. Consider this finalist and award winner from 2014’s Google Science Fair: Samuel Burrow is working on an invention that could help improve air quality by using a common ingredient in paint to help filter pollution.

3) Tell us your pick for best fictional scientist?
This was terribly hard to choose! For today I’ll say Urahara Kisuke, from the Bleach series. Not only is he skilled in combat, but he is also a scientist and the founder of the Shinigami Research and Development Institute. His use of science and combat knowledge led to the development of some very powerful tools for the Soul Society.

4) What fictional scientific discovery do you wish was real?
Infinite Improbability Drive – because it would be nice if anything in my life could travel like the Heart of Gold.

krieger-archer
1) If you could have dinner and an engaging conversation with any scientist, who would you choose?
Professor Brian Cox – I could listen to him talk about space and the universe all day long!

2) Name one scientific discovery that you think has changed, or will change, the world for the better.
I am going to agree with Jen and say renewable energy! The sooner we stop burning fossil fuels the better!!

3) Tell us your pick for best fictional scientist?
I can’t pick just one so I am going to go with: Carlos from Welcome to Night Vale, Dr Krieger from Archer and Rick of Rick and Morty Fame

4) What fictional scientific discovery do you wish was real?
Portals. Also time and intergalactic travel.


Remember to join in the fun by checking out the “Inside the Theme” forum to contribute your own answers to these burning questions! Feel free to post them as a comment on the forum, or on your own blog! Use #InsideTheTheme to share your posts and answers on social media!